Thousands of motorists and hundreds of students are still trapped on local roads and at schools around Atlanta as yesterday’s snow turned to ice overnight. Images on local television news and from the Georgia DOT traffic cams show interstates littered with cars and trucks, in some cases blocking all lanes.
Last night, Gov. Nathan Deal mobilized the National Guard to help rescue students stranded on buses and motorists who have been stuck in their vehicles since yesterday afternoon. Home Depots and Kroger supermarkets around the city remained open to act as shelters for stranded motorists.
Atlanta Public Schools confirmed that 50 students who were trapped on buses had been rescued and were either with parents or taken to schools to shelter in place. According to APS spokeswoman Kimberly Willis Green, several hundred students are sheltered in place at schools primarily in the north and west region of the city. “There were a few challenges to food delivery at some locations, but all students did receive food thanks to the Atlanta Police Department, our resourceful staff, and the generosity of communities. Students are safe and continue to be supervised by staff and resource officers. The Georgia State Patrol is also on site.”
Green said APS is asking parents to contact schools directly for information on students. “We ask parents and guardians to bear with us,” Green said.
An example of students still trapped at their school is E. Rivers Elementary in Buckhead, where more than a hundred “sheltered in place.” Atlanta Public Schools tweeted that the students are “all great, having breakfast and doing an art project.”
MARTA reported there is currently no bus service operating in the city because of the icy streets. Rail service has resumed but their are lengthy delays.
Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed are facing harsh criticism for the state and city’s response to the storm. A press conference is coming up shortly. Check back for an update.